Replacing Senator Dodd: Who is Richard Blumenthal?

Richard Blumenthal, expected to run to replace retiring Sen. Christopher Dodd (D), has been Connecticut's attorney general since 1991. He enjoys high approval ratings in his home state.

By , Correspondent

Richard Blumenthal (D), the current attorney general of Connecticut, is expected to announce his candidacy Wednesday afternoon to replace Sen. Chris Dodd (D) in the US Senate, who is retiring.

Mr. Blumenthal, who told the Associated Press (AP) that he has had his eye on the Senate for years, has served as Connecticut’s top attorney since 1991.

As attorney general, Blumenthal advocated “aggressive law enforcement for consumer protection, environmental stewardship, labor rights and personal privacy,” according to his state bio.

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“The United States Senate has been a longtime public service goal, and I would be proud and honored to have the opportunity to serve the people of Connecticut ... in the Senate,” Blumenthal told AP.

Popular in Connecticut

Blumenthal is popular with Connecticut voters, and could help tilt a race that was leaning Republican back to the Democrats. In March 2009, his approval ratings were at 81 percent, according to the Associated Press. A November poll by Quinnipiac University had him with a 78 percent job approval rate.

Senator Dodd announced Wednesday that he will not seek a sixth term in Senate. Dodd is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and has been increasingly unpopular in his home state largely due to issues related to the bank bailouts, a questionable home loan he received from a sub-prime lender, and his perceived closeness to Wall Street.

Activist attorney general?

While attorney general, Blumenthal worked to establish protections for minors online, including requiring social networking sites to verify minors’ ages and get permission from parents to use the site’s services.

When a sex offender in Connecticut filed a suit challenging the legality of the state’s "Megan's Law," which requires persons convicted of sexual offenses to register with the state and have their information posted online, Blumenthal defended the state’s position all the way to the Supreme Court. In a 2003 decision, the Supreme Court sided with Blumenthal and upheld Connecticut’s sex offender laws.

Blumenthal previously served as administrative assistant to former US Sen. Abraham A. Ribicoff, aide to former US Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan when Moynihan was Assistant to the President of the United States, and law clerk to US Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

A graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School, Blumenthal was US Attorney for Connecticut from 1977 to 1981. He served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984 to 1987, and then the State Senate from 1987 to 1990.

Blumenthal's competition

Republicans in the running to replace Dodd include Rep. Robert Simmons, who had been ahead of Dodd in the polls, Linda McMahon, former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, and businessman Peter Schiff.

Both Mr. Simmons and Ms. McMahon told AP their plans were unchanged by Dodd's exit and the entrance of Blumenthal.

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